A little text here, a short lunch meeting there. You will not recognize it if you are not self-aware of what you are doing. If you are not careful, you might already be having an emotional affair without knowing it.
What is an emotional affair?
To understand this, we must first break the two words into separate terms. First is the word emotion. According to LumenLearning.com, an emotion is a subjective and affective state that can be intense or not depending on our experiences. It is perceived to be consciously felt and is intentional.
The second word is affair. In its simplest form, an affair is being in a deep relationship with someone other than your husband or wife. When you have affection toward another person, you are having an affair.
Combining both words again, an emotional affair is a conscious and intentional attempt to develop passionate experiences with another person other than your husband or wife. An emotional affair is a form of cheating behind your spouse.
Why is an emotional affair bad for your marriage?
To tell you blatantly, any form of affair is bad for your marriage. Psychology Today defines the different kinds of affairs that you may have – the resentment affair, the mind affair, incest, the one-sided affair, and the total affair. Each type comes from various reasons but all will have one result- hurting your spouse and damaging your marriage.
Your husband or wife deserves all the best that comes from you. This means your time, your body, your money, your gifts, and your emotions. When someone else is sharing these things with your spouse, you are giving away things that only your wife or husband has authority over. If you allow this to happen in your marriage, you are undeniably cheating on your spouse.
Emotional affairs are only the start of something deeper and more dangerous. If you do not stop early on this kind of affair, it may lead to sexual, intellectual, and even spiritual affairs. Giving your emotions to somebody else can endanger your relationship with your husband or wife.
What happens when you are having an emotional affair?
Emotional affairs are often the start of cheating on your husband or wife. Both men and women are susceptible to this kind of affair, so whether you are the former or the latter, you should keep yourselves on guard all the time.
When you are in this kind of affair, you are investing your emotions in another person. It may begin as an honest sharing of your negative experiences with your spouse. If the other person is undergoing the same things with his partner or if he becomes an eager listener, emotions may start pouring in.
The more you share your likes, your dislikes, your spouse’s bad habits and your good experiences, the more invested you are to this person. Before you know it, you want to see this person more and spend time with him.
It may feel like he is the only person who understands you. All you see in him are his best traits and qualities. If you continuously share your emotions with this person, you will soon want him to be your husband instead of your actual spouse.
Prevent emotional affairs from happening by knowing and thinking about these warning signs:
Warning Signs That You are Having an Emotional Affair
1.You are spending way too much time texting or calling each other.
I know that you know this. You text him in the morning. You call him right after work, and you say, “Good night” before you go to sleep. Does it sound malicious and inappropriate? Well, it is!
You can, of course, send messages to your friends and family. It is not wrong to talk to other people, especially if you built a relationship before you were married. But if you are talking about stuff that you should only be discussing with your spouse, then it is a warning sign that you are already having an emotional affair.
When you talk about your husband behind his back and seek comfort from another person, this is a definite sign that you are cheating on your spouse. Problems should be discussed with your husband or wife, not with other people. If you need solutions, then you should both be personally present when you talk to others about your issues.
2.You want more space for yourself.
Again, it is not bad to have some personal space for yourself in your marriage. You should not lose your individual identity even if you are already married to your spouse. You can go spend your time doing the things that you love like your hobbies, your interests, and others.
But if this is just your way to talk and spend evenings together with another person, then the affair is slowly creeping in. You are using this completely viable desire to put a boundary between you and your spouse in order to be free to do what you want to do with someone else.
3.In conflicts, you always say that you will leave him if he does not change.
When you are having discussions or arguments, you demand that your spouse must submit to what you are saying. If he does not, you always say that you will leave him.
Marriage should be all about fixing and repairing. No relationship is perfect. It needs a lot of work in order to survive. But if your fallback is always to leave your spouse if your desires are not given to you, then there is really something wrong with your marriage.
This may be because you already have someone else to go to in case your marriage does not work. You are already in an emotional affair with someone who is urging you to leave your husband and be with him instead.
4.You get defensive when confronted about your relationship with a particular officemate or friend.
We all have people in the office with whom we spend more time than others. They are our friends. And we often share these details with our spouses so that they will not become suspicious, especially if these are people of the opposite sex.
But if you become defensive about your relationship with a specific person, you may be in an emotional affair with this person. You do not want to share your texts with this person. You become private about your talks because you know in your heart that you are already cheating on your spouse.
5.You want to look better for him.
When we buy clothes, it is generally to look good in front of other people. But we do not usually have a particular person in mind when we purchase a shirt or a dress – that is, unless you want to look good for him or her.
When your mind is telling you to buy pieces of jewelry or a tie with her favorite color, then you should stop right now and evaluate yourself. Are you really doing this in your marriage? Your spouse’s appreciation should be your driving motivation to look good, not someone else’s.
6.You become overly critical of your spouse.
You want your spouse to act this way or have a specific kind of appearance. You want him to be like the person that you are having an affair with. You criticize your husband’s or wife’s clothes, their behavior at work or their points during arguments. You hate your spouse for not being the perfect person that you want him or her to be.
You only see the good traits of the person you are having an affair with. It may be so early in the relationship that you have not seen his bad characteristics yet. Or you are so engulfed in your emotions that you just tend to overlook these ill personalities.
7.When you receive good news, you want him to be the first to know.
The most important person in your life deserves to enjoy the good news with you. In this case, if it is your friend rather than your spouse, then you have to reevaluate your relationship.
Even if you are angry with your husband or wife, you still want to share the news about your pay grade raise, your promotion, or anything that made your day a little lighter and happier. If the first call that you want to make is to your “friend,” you are probably having an emotional affair with him.
Your spouse should be the one to receive all your feelings and emotions. You must take note of these warning signs so that you can voluntarily stop yourself when you are doing and experiencing these things. It may happen to you at any age, at any time, and in any place, so be aware.
If ever you have had these emotional affairs, you should also come clean about it with your spouse. It may hurt your relationship for a little while, but it will also make you both more mature as you build trust and honesty in your marriage.